Triple Challenge 20/30 mile Sponsored Ride

Once again Martello Rotary are organising their sponsored challenge in aid of British Heart Foundation on Sunday, 11th June 2017.  The courses are similar but not identical to last year.  The 20 mile will lead you across the Downs to Firle, along the Coach Road to Alfriston and then back across the Downs to Norton and Seaford.  The 30 mile is similar but includes an extension across the Ouse Valley to Telscombe and a tough climb back up Itford Hill to rejoin the 20 mile route.

Please Register before the event so that full provision can be made for post event facilities.  Full details, maps, directions and Registration Forms can be found at http://www.triplechallenge.martellorotary.org.uk

Let’s hope that the weather this year is slightly better than the rain and gales we enjoyed in 2016.  We have heard that two of Mr Cycles’ mechanics will follow round the course and help with any breakdowns that may have occurred.

2b MTB Friston night ride report

Could not be more different that last week, mild  night around 8 celcius, the ground was very soft  and the section between the gates and the Westdean pond should be renamed as “mud alley”. This was the worth that I have ever seen it, the camber which is supposed to drain the rain water  is great except that they must have resurfaced the centre section with clay!. The mud tyres were doubling in size and fork clearance were reduced to nothing with front and rear wheel stooping due to mud build up.  The rest of the ride was good but with some hard going section due to mud  or the trails having been destroyed by heavy plant machinery as work is been done on the top east side of cardiac. We had just 3 riders plus Gus from the 3b as none of his riders turn.  We were out for just over 2 hours , with a moving time of  1.17h, the rest of the time spend digging the mud out of our forks and frames. We did 7.7mls.  Please note,  I can not make it on 3rd of Feb. If you do want to ride, please confirm with Gus prior to the ride as he will cover for me if needed. Use the link on the 3b ride in our calendar.  Be safe Luc

 

MTB 3C – Standean Bottom

Starting at 8am on Sunday at The White Lion, Seaford, 12 riders braved the icy conditions to ride the Ouse Esturay Trail (the gravel cycle path) to Newhaven to pick up another rider at Denton Corner. With thirteen of us in the group we rode along the cycle paths past Denton Island and round to the back of the Jolly Boatman. We crossed the C7 road and headed up Valley Road past the school, then tackled the short but very sharp climb to the A259 cycle path. We saw that the conversion of the footpath (to a surfaced cycleway) from the A259 to Ashington Gardens is now underway, and we’re looking forward to its completion in 5 weeks. Until that time the path will be closed.

Footpath clearance, ready for the cycle way

 

We cycled through The Big Park then along quiet roads up to Telscombe Road, out onto Teslcombe Tye then along the bridleways to Harvey’s Cross. It was very chilly out there in the open countryside, with some thick ice on the puddles but, despite the light fog, the views were worth it.

Ice breaker

The group continued on towards Standean Bottom then the long, slow, circuitous climb up to Woodingdean – being a long meandering route makes it less of a daunting climb, and the valley is both beautiful and quiet. My favourite place. We met a fellow rider who joined us for part of the ride. It’s great when you bump into other riders en-route, and you soon get to recognised familiar faces taking advantage of the amazing countryside we have around here.

Frost and sun at Standean Bottom

After the climb we heading down a farm track bridleway into Rottingdean and onto the under cliff to Saltdean. The climb out of Saltdean to Peacehaven is always a challenge, especially after 18 miles of cross-country riding, and the clifftop path is not as flat as you’d think.

Having encountered thick ice, sloppy puddles and slippery mud, we got back to Seaford safely and exactly on time at noon, the 26 miles and 1700 feet of climbing taking us four hours. A huge ‘well done’ to the riders who stepped up their game to do this challenging ride in tricky conditions.

Andy.

Links:
GPS Video of the route we took: https://www.relive.cc/view/840480159
Cycle Seahaven calendar: http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/calendar/
History of Harvey’s cross: http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page/saltdean
Footpath Peacehaven 12: http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/ph12/

PS. Next week’s ride options are a 2B to Bopeep trig point, and a 2.5C ride to Bopeep and Friston Forest. More details in the calendar at http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/calendar/

2B Bright & Cold Beginners Ride

A clear bright, if not very cold Sunday morning saw 13 of us leaving Seaford heading towards Newhaven on the Ouse Estuary Trail. Upon reaching Newhaven we were joined by another rider taking our number to 14, a great turn out on such a cold morning. The cold frosty morning meant the grassy trails along the riverbank to Piddinghoe were solid and easier to ride. A quick hop on the C7 saw us arrive at Deans Farm and the start of Valley road taking us to the back of Peacehaven. Due to some of the group venturing out on the own rides, I took the opportunity at certain points to advise where we were and possible alternative routes that maybe taken. Our coffee stop this week was the café at the Big Park in Peacehaven, which was very welcome, in order to de-frost our fingers & toes. Feeling refreshed and de-frosted we head towards the A259 and up & over the Highway, dropping down to & along the Quay side in Newhaven before returning to Seaford via the Ouse Estuary Trail. As always on our beginners rides assistance and advice was offered to less experienced riders in order to boost their confidence and enjoyment whilst on our rides. Well done to all riders that came along today, and to Roy for assisting me leading the ride this morning.

Paul Sandles
Ride Leader 

 

How to plan a new route

Ride leaders, have you ever thought, “I’d like to go somewhere different today.”  Cyclists, have you thought, “Not Firle Road and Bopeep, again?”

Don’t despair, help is at hand.  Cycle Seahaven has produced a video guide to help you to plan new routes.  It gives you the skills and tools you will need to explore many exciting new routes and find parts of the countryside you never knew existed.

You can access this at   https://youtu.be/rl31gNbvtMU

When you’ve planned them, recce’d them, and proved them with a group, why don’t you put them on our website where you will find nearly 20 others with maps and directions.  Find them at “Rides and Events”, “Cycle Routes”.

2B Beginners / Improvers MTB Ride

With the forecast looking wet & windy 10 of us set out from The White Lion in Seaford, following our usual route upto Bo-peep, picking up the Southdowns Way and heading over to Southease and back to Seaford via Newhaven. Some of the group hadn’t ridden this route before and, given the first half is mostly climbing, they all rode well with only a few stops to re-group. Once up on the Downs the rain eased & the mist lifted, allowing views inland towards Glynde & Lewes. After dropping down Itford Hill to the bridge crossing over A26 we headed for the YHA café for a very welcome hot drink and cake. We couldn’t have timed it better, 5 minutes after we arrived the Intermediate group turned up and joined us for a drink and chat. Feeling refreshed we headed back out into the rain and homeward bound via Egrets Way, Piddinghoe riverbank and Newhaven to Seaford. Although we were wet, muddy & tired, there were smiles on our faces after a great mornings ride.
Cheers Paul Sandles

2B Sunday Morning Beginners Ride

This Sundays ride saw the beginners group and the intermediate group set out together for a relaxed poodle along Seaford seafront to the car park at Tidemills, where the groups split. This left the beginners ride with 17 of us heading for the youth hostel cafe at Southease. A second beginners group was to follow on behind as afew riders were running late. We carried on to Newhaven and then along the riverbank to Piddinghoe where we passed the intermediate group, nothing to do with the speed we were riding at, more to the fact they had all stopped as one of them had picked up a puncture. Shortly after this one of our group also picked up a puncture, however the main group carried on whilst the puncture was repaired, thanks Gus for coming to the rescue.

After a short hop on the C7 we joined the Egrets Way to Southease, having made good time we were to early for the café, so we carried on up the Erget Way until the hard packed surface ended. Turning round we rode back to, and over the bridge crossing the river Ouse and on to the Cafe. The look on the poor waitress’s face when see saw all 17 of us ride up was a picture, a mixture of surprise and fright. Shortly after arriving the second group turned up – all 8 of them…. WOW We couldn’t believe it 25 riders on our beginners ride – a record – as you can see from the photo.

After coffee and cake we returned via the same route, back to Seaford, where people split off at different points to head home, hopefully having enjoyed a very pleasant mornings ride.

I would like to add a personal thank you to those ride leaders & more experienced riders who assisted me on this ride. It is greatly appreciated.  

Cheers,
Paul Sandles

 

Bike Re-cycling Project

From 1st January 2017, the Mr Cycles (Seaford) and Giant (Shoreham) bike stores will be helping the Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA) with their Bike Recycling Project. The project is based at a workshop in Newhaven but will benefit the long-term unemployed and socially inactive across Sussex. Rod Lambert, proprietor of Mr Cycles and one of the founder members of Cycle Seahaven, will be providing help and advice to the project and the two shops will be passing on any bikes they receive as part of trade-in offer that will run throughout January. Previously customers would ask the cycle shop to dispose of bikes or components such as handlebars, tyres or saddles that they no longer required and the shop would do its best to pass them to other cyclists. Now these will be passed on to the SCDA bike recycling project.
George Stonehouse of SCDA explains: We’re running a Re-Cycle Project that involves re-cycling, maintaining and selling bicycles. The idea is to get members of the community involved in the fixing, maintaining and selling these bikes, to learn work-related skills that they can use in the workplace, help develop the individual’s confidence and make them more employable. The participants will then be able to use the bikes to get to and from work, or they will be sold in the SCDA charity shops and the money would be used to fund the running costs of the project and the charity. We’re grateful for the help and assistance offered by Rod and the Mr Cycles team.

 

So instead of taking that old bike from the shed to the local tip why not pop it into Mr Cycles and they’ll pass it on to the SCDA Re-Cycle project. Better still, if you’re buying a new bike from Mr Cycles during January that costs £500 or more, trade-in your old bike and you’ll get £75 credit to spend in store. * The trade-in bike needs to be a complete adult bike.

Bridleways and Byways

One of the key elements of the Monday daytime rides is that we seek to use bridleways, byways and quiet country roads, with as much off-road as possible, sometimes over 75% of the route. Most of the bridleways and byways would have been in existence from the time of the enclosures, if not earlier, and were the usual means for farmers and labourers to access fields and villages and for villagers to get to church. They are very irregular in direction and, when converted into roads, give rise to the famous “rolling English roads”. Those that were not made into roads, remain as unsurfaced byways (open to wheeled traffic), bridleways and footpaths. Part of our vision is to seek out and use these routes so that they do not disappear through neglect. Full details of all rights of way can be found on the  East Sussex Rights of Way website and on any Ordnance Survey map.

There are many bridleways on the South Downs giving access to wide open vistas and bracing fresh air. They are usually firm, grassland tracks, sometimes stoney, with gentle slopes or very steep hills.Down in the low Weald, they are more secluded, tree-lined and calm with dappled sunlight peeking through the branches. They are flat or have low hills and in places suffer from deep puddles or stretches of cloying mud.

One of the major problems we have experienced is the degradation of these routes. We have found that access to the wide range of routes is being restricted by problems at several, usually narrow, key nodes or pinch points which are difficult to negotiate particularly for less adventurous cyclists, walkers and riders and those with younger families.

The problems seem to be:


The overgrowth in summer of nettles, brambles, hawthorn and other vegetation which render the use of the route unpleasant or dangerous. Two of the group recently emerged from such an overgrown path streaming blood from bramble scratches. Even when the ground may have been cleared of vegetation, overhanging hawthorn and bramble can cause serious injury to equestrians and cyclists. A good (bad) example is on the path to Bopeep at the top of the Golf Course.

Whether it is increased use or increased rainfall, a number of bridleways are suffering from severe erosion, even on chalk. This renders them difficult negotiate as deep V-shaped gullies are created with loose rocks in the bottom, sometimes leaving no level surface. These may be sufficiently deep to catch pedals and throw off riders. An example is the upper part of the bridleway in Poverty Bottom.

Areas of deep mud remaining all year which, in narrow sections, leave no dry area to bypass, in others, deep puddles extending across the width of the track or a series “poach holes” up to 15cms deep where hoofs have sunk into the mud. These are often in gateways and near streams. A particularly bad example is the bridleway from Bates Green Farm west of the Cuckmere River.

Byways are open to wheeled vehicles, and tractors, 4x4s and motorbikes can cause serious problems. Wheel tracks, sometimes three across the byway and up to 20 cms deep, leave only a narrow and discontinuous pathway between. An example would be the track to Folkington from Wilmington. Byways may be closed in winter but this does not apply to cycles.

All paths get overgrown in summer, most paths get wet and muddy in winter, but a few key places are getting to the point where they are unusable all year and are restricting access to a large network of adequate routes. The main point is that these are small areas that are restricting access to a much greater length of excellent bridleways and byways which could provide exercise and interest to many. It should be possible for remedial action to be taken to remove these problems and improve access to all parts of the network. Another point is that these pinch points force users onto a few easier paths which may, in turn, become overused and suffer erosion.

According to ESCCs Rights of Way Team, it is the landowners’ responsibility to maintain Rights of Way across their land. The Team advise that if you find a problem on a Right of Way, report to them, quoting the number of the route. This can be found from the on-line Rights of Way Map by clicking on the route at full magnification when a drop down box will show the Parish and number of the route, even of each stile and gate.

With traffic on the roads increasing, it is essential that these off-road routes are used and not lost.